Godalming, Surrey

Historical Description

Godalming, a town, a parish, a municipal borough, and a hundred in Surrey. The town stands on the river Wey, with a station on the L. & S.W.R., 34 miles from London, and 4 SSW of Guildford, and has a post, money order, and telegraph office. Its site is a fine valley, or tract of meadow, of the kind the Saxons called Ing, nearly surrounded by steep high ground. Its name is supposed to have been derived from an ancient Saxon proprietor named Godhelm, and to have been originally Godhelm's Ing. It includes one principal street and several smaller ones, and may be said to include also as suburbs the villages of Farncombe and Crownpits. The town is ancient, and was in the 17th century an occasional resort of king and courtiers for hunting. There are two banks, three chief inns, a town-hall, masonic hall, Liberal and Conservative clubs, a convalescent home, and almshouses. The public hall was built in 1861 after designs by Peak. The church is variously Early English, Decorated, and Perpendicular-chiefly the last; has an Early English central tower, was restored and enlarged in 1840, and again in 1879; it contains monuments of the Eliots of Busbridge, the Wyatts of Shackleford, the Rev. A. Warton, vicar of Godalming and grandfather of the historian of English poetry, and the Rev. O. Manning, also vicar of Godalming and historian of Surrey. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Winchester; value, £200 with residence. Patron, the Bishop of Winchester. The rectories of Farncombe and Shaekleford and the vicarage of Busbridge are separate benefices. Markets are held on Wednesdays. The Wey is navigable by means of cuts made in 1768 to Guildford, and gives communication thence to London. A manufacture of cloth formerly flourished, and paper-making, tanning, and the manufacture of fleecy hosiery are still carried on. The town was chartered by Elizabeth; was considerably extended in 1892; is now governed by a mayor, 6 aldermen, and 18 councillors; and is a seat of county courts. Population of the borough, 2797.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient County Surrey
Ecclesiastical parish Godalming St. Peter and St. Paul
Hundred Godalming
Poor Law union Guildford

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Church Records

Ancestry.co.uk, in association with Surrey History Centre, have images of the Parish Registers for Surrey online.

Civil Registration

For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Godalming from the following:

Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Surrey is available to browse.


Online maps of Godalming are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Surrey papers online:

Visitations Heraldic

The Visitation of Surrey, 1662-1668 is available on the Heraldry page.

RegionSouth East
Postal districtGU7
Post TownGodalming